California’s Central Valley covers approximately 18,000 square miles, bounded by the Pacific Coast Ranges to the west and the Sierra Nevada to the east. One of the most celebrated agricultural regions in the world, this is California’s single most productive area, providing more than half of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States.
In the heart of this rich and fertile region lies the city of Modesto, where, in 1952, Nick Tocco and Mike Piccinini opened the first Save Mart grocery store. Enjoying deeply rooted relationships with the area’s farmers, ranchers, and producers, Tocco and Piccinini saw the value in offering the bountiful fresh and local products available at farm stands throughout the valley in a convenient, modern grocery store. And equally important to Nick and Mike, at prices that families could afford. Celebrating local growers and providers long before “farm to fork” became an international trend, Save Mart was born.
Mike’s son, Bob Piccinini, took over leadership of the company in the early 1980s. By then the chain had grown to include multiple locations in the Modesto area plus surrounding communities. When a wave of store closings swept the region, Save Mart bucked the trend with additional acquisitions and the opening of its first FoodMaxx stores. Customers continued to flock to the stores, attracted by the winning formula of fresh, local, quality and value.
In 2007, Bob Piccinini acquired a 128-store chain in Northern California and rebranded the stores as Lucky supermarkets, “rescuing” the once prominent Lucky name and putting Piccinini into the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area market.
Today, led by CEO Nicole Pesco, Bob’s daughter, The Save Mart Companies is the largest family-owned grocer in California, and employs nearly 14,000 team members and operates 206 traditional and price impact stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky, Lucky California, FoodMaxx, and Maxx Value Foods.